As a stand-up comedian, Gavin Cooper makes a great stand-in captain, according to long-suffering North Queensland coach Paul Green.
Since scraping into the top eight, the Cowboys have credited a relaxed attitude for their giant-killing run to Sunday’s NRL grand final against Melbourne.
But it seems replacement skipper Cooper is pushing it.
Green said Cooper’s personality had not changed despite taking over the captaincy from injured leaders Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott, and guiding them to their second grand final in three years.
Much to his frustration.
Cooper admits it’s not a good day until he has got a rise out of intense pocket rocket Green.
He was at it again when they arrived in Sydney on Wednesday.
As Green looked to plan their intense build-up to the season decider with his skipper, Cooper was asking around about what Sydney day trips he could take.
“I don’t think he has much quality in his comedy at all,” Green told Fox Sports’ NRL 360.
“He was asking me about surfing lessons tomorrow and a game of golf.”
Cooper added: “His head turned into a beetroot so I knew I had done my job.
“I know how to get a rise out of people and when Greeny’s face goes red, I know I have done the right thing.”
Yet Green is still keen to nurture their fun-loving approach to their surprise grand final appearance.
The injury-hit Cowboys had to rely on other results to fall over the finals line in eighth.
Now they are poised to become the first team to have finished outside the top four to win the premiership in the NRL’s 20-season history.
Overall Canterbury is the lowest-ranked team to win a title after they won the 1995 crown from sixth.
“The way we got into the finals has helped,” Green said.
“The opportunity was taken away from us (to decide their own finals fate) when we lost that game against Brisbane.
“It has given everyone a different perspective on the finals series.
“It has made everyone more relaxed. Everyone is genuinely enjoying it.”